[extropy-chat] Angel Snot was Near Death Experiences: a scientific approach
Tom's name Here
the_spoon_maker at hotmail.com
Wed Feb 25 08:23:28 UTC 2004
>Is the line between "consciousness and unconsciousness" really "clear"?
>How do you know that? Do you mean cessation of electrical activity in
I meant that it is fairly obvious to be awake (people pay attention to
stimulation) versus asleep (stimulation may enter echoic memory but not
short term memory).
Also, there is some mechanism that prevents muscular movement commands from
leaving the brain, thus preventing us from acting out our dreams.
(Sleepwalking results from its malfunction) One could argue that when this
mechanism is engaged, the person is asleep. However, it may only be engaged
when a person dreams. If that is the case, forget I mentioned it.
So there is a difference between asleep and awake. Waking and falling asleep
are both processes (the former being a very quick one). I erred in saying
the line between awake and asleep is clear. The *difference* between the two
states is clear. The line, I would say, is when the anti-sleepwalking
mechanism kicks in, or when stimuli stop entering the attention. However I
have a nagging feeling even this two "lines" too are gradient processes with
no clear on or off states.
If it is biological, if probably doesnt happen all at once.
><...> or [the soul] could leave slowly, pulling out. If the latter, then
>that death does not >come immediately would not be evidence against there
>being a soul.
If the soul leaves the body, it has to be going someplace. I dont think the
soul is divisible (its not physical) so it would fade in/out in its
entirety. If it were fading around in its entirety that would mean it would
exist (to some extent) in both destinations at once. That would mean that
people that have started to die have part of their soul in the spirit world
(or whatever afterlife we're talking about) while theyre still alive. The
key here would be to define "started to die". Drowning in water starts you
dying, but many people are revived and dont talk of feeling like part of
their soul is missing, or lesser by some extent. Also it seems like
existing on both planes at once would violate some cosmic law. Which planar
soul would have the consciousness? If the consciousness were bound to the
physical-world soul, what would be controlling the afterlife soul?
>Now [the soul] could leave very quickly, perhaps even instantaneously [
>it could >always be that the soul leaves the body after it reaches a point
>of not return
This is a much more cosmos-friendly assumption. The point at which a person
cannot return to life could take many places. Of course, in order for one to
be unable to return to life, they must be dead. Thus we revert back to the
death is not a specific, end-all be-all state.
Some could argue that the soul leaves at the instant nothing can be done
from preventing death. Were this the case, souls would leave before the
person died, presenting us with bodies without minds. A coma patient would
be an example, but it would also mean people would be alive and moving
around when their souls left, and would continue to move around. Zombies,
Chance exists: Ive heard before about a man who wanted to commit suicide.
Whether its true or not is irrelevant. He swallowed a cyanide capsule, put a
gun to his mouth and hung himself over a cliff above the ocean. At this
point, his soul would certainly leave, seeing as he swallowed the pill. The
story goes he pulled the trigger and activated whatever device he used to
hang himself. The bullet goes through his head and cuts the rope and he
plunges down into the cold sea, which causes him to regurgitate the pill,
and he lives. If he is alive, he needs his soul, so it couldnt have left.
If the soul stayed because it knew the person would live after all, it
indicates the soul can predict the result of chance, which is impossible.
Chance does not exist (Scientific determinism): This is unwieldy since
sci.det. would say the soul would leave as soon as it entered the body,
because no matter what happens, the person will die when they die; nothing
can prevent it. Of course, I dont know of any scientific determinists that
believe in the soul J.
>I mean one could imagine the soul sticks around until every last cell is
Dont some cells remain alive long after clinical death? Hair and
fingernails come to mind, although Ive heard their growing is only an
illusion of dehydration. I dont know which to believe, they both sound
Would all cells in the body include other life? For example, bacteria that
help us digest food. Im sure there are some we cannot live without, thus
they are part of our life, but they are their own organisms, and thus
separate from our body. I doubt our soul would hang around on account of a
If the soul leaves when all cells of the body are dead this would indicate
the soul is tied, in some aspect, to all cells in the body. So what about
babies and birth? An egg and a sperm are both body cells, so how would a
zygote forming affect that? Also, one could argue that since a womans egg
is still alive (albeit in the form of another human) that would contort the
>Now, matching this up to MacDougall's findings is another story. I
>would first question his findings.
Especially the nonuniformity of the weights measured. I mean, more evident
than what were discussing is the fact that different people lost different
amounts of weight. Since he ignored the obvious physical connection between
weight and mass and elected instead to attribute it to spiritual elements, I
question his impartiality.
I highly doubt different moralities and ethics produce different weights.
>Also, I would want to know what other evidence is there for a soul.
Personally I dont believe in them. I just figured arguing this would be a
good way to worm my way into the group.
>One could also test this by sealing a dying person in a chamber <
>soul needs to escape too, but we could just take an inventory of all the
>matter in the chamber before and after death, and after opening it, when,
>presumably, the soul would escape.
Good point, if it has mass, it should be subject to the laws of physics. If
it is truly spiritual it would simply disappear from inside the box; it
would not have to wait to get out. I mean, where is it going to go outside
the box that it cant inside? Up into the sky to sit on a cloud? Of course
any transdimentional travel of 21 grams would surly give off detectable
signals of some sort. Hell, the change in gravity fields alone would tell us
more than a boatload of theologians could.
Does anyone remember those shoebox things the Ghostbusters trapped ghosts
Im also reminded of a. . .I think a Chinese parable where a person angers a
witch and the witch traps the person inside a tiny box, along with other
people suffering the same fate.
>My bet is MacDougall would be proven wrong, but that's only a guess.
I agree wholeheartedly.
- Tom Andrys
(I have a feeling Im about to screw up the posting location of this, but I
can't really figure out what the subject line would look like for a reply to
a reply to a reply. Should it have been
re: re: re:[extropy-chat] Angel Snot was Near Death Experiences: a
scientific approach? I don't want to fsk up and clutter the forum with a
new, totally unnecessary thread. Also hotmail woulden't let me type out the
proper subject line)
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